Benadryl for Dogs: Is It Safe, When and How Much?

Benadryl is a widely used medicine in humans when they face allergies, hay fevers or motion sickness.

The drug is also used for dogs, but some vets do not recommend it due to possible side effects or to prevent its usage without beforehand consultations.

Several factors need to be considered before giving the drug to your dog. If you have no time to visit a vet, call him to make sure about its appropriateness and dosage.

What is Benadryl and When It is Used?

Benadryl is an antihistamine, and its most common indications are the treatment of allergic reactions to insect bites or stings, environmental allergies or pre-treatment of vaccine reactions.

The name of the drug used in Benadryl is Diphenhydramine.

Quite a few other brands like Nytol, Panadol and Benylin also use this drug.

When it comes to humans, in case of allergy or inflammation, our body releases a chemical called Histamine, which is a natural defense.

The chemical helps us recover from the original problem. However, it also causes itching, swelling, increased heart rate, increased stomach acid secretion and similar discomfort.

When Histamine releases, it can attach itself to two different receptors – H1 or H2.

If it reaches the H1 receptors, you may suffer from symptoms like itching, heavy breath or swelling, while linked with H2 you may have your heart rate changed and symptoms related to acid secretion in the stomach.

To block the discomfort caused by the release of Histamine people take an antihistamine drug.

Dogs also have H1 and H2 receptors.

Vets may prescribe the drug to combat allergies caused by Histamine.

Benadryl reduces problems like itchiness and swelling triggered by the H1 receptors. Consequently, it is useless for heart and stomach problems.

Benadryl absorbs quickly and usually begins to take effect after about 30 minutes.

It is essential to be sure that the particular Benadryl product you buy for a dog contains only Diphenhydramine.

If some offers you a different brand with the same active ingredient check the “Drug Facts” on the back of the label and make sure it contains diphenhydramine as the Active Ingredient.

Benadryl can be used when a dog faces:

  • Itching
  • Irritated skin
  • Car sickness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Flea or insect bites
  • Sneezing, coughing or hay fever
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Insomnia
  • Bee stings
  • Reactions to vaccines
  • Stuffy or a runny nose

Benadryl for Dogs, Dosage

A dog’s size plays a significant role in specifying the dosage of the drug.

The dosage offered by Specialists is as follow. However, you need to consult with your vet about it anyway.

  • 30 lbs and smaller – 10 mg per dose
  • 30-50 lbs – 25 mg per dose
  • 50 lbs and over – 50 mg per dose

To be more precise, you can give your dog 1 mg of Benadryl for every 1 lb of body weight.

Contact your vet for more help with dosing frequency, but the typical dose is 2-3 times a day, every 8 hours apart.

Benadryl for Dogs, Side Effects

Drowsiness is the most common side-effect, as when applying Benadryl will make your dog sleepy. Some people even give the drug to calm down their anxious dogs.

A mild disorientation can also be mentioned and take attention to your dog when you give the drug.

There are less common side effects which include vomiting, agitation, rapid health beat, dry mouth, diarrhea, not- peeing- related urinary retention, lack of appetite.

If your dog has some health-related problems taking medicine may reveal side-effects.

It is not recommended to give the drug to your pet, without a vet consultation, if he suffered or suffers from heart disease, lung disease, glaucoma, high blood pressure or enlarged prostate.

Benadryl might not be safe for puppies, as they are small and not well-developed enough to give the same drug as to the grown-up pets.

Pay attention that a liquid Benadryl has a high alcohol content that might harm a pet.

Some Benadryl contains Sodium which can cause problems for dogs with health problems, so check the label carefully.

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